Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara has claimed that he is a victim of Dalit suppression, and that he was denied the chance to become the chief minister due to his caste.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Chalavadi community — a Dalit group — in the Davangere region of the state on Sunday, Parameshwara said he had “reluctantly accepted the post of the deputy chief minister” in the Congress-JDS coalition. “I am a victim of suppression and could not become CM,” Parameshwara, a senior Congress leader, said.
However, Congress leader Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy distanced themselves from the remark and said the deputy chief minister must himself state what he means.
Parameshwara’s remarks are being seen as an attempt to position himself to be the first Dalit chief minister of Karnataka in the event of the Congress pushing for a change of chief minister after the Lok Sabha polls. The move is also seen as an effort to galvanize Dalit groups, to which Parameshwara belongs, to support the coalition in the polls.
Parameshwara was in a position to be the chief minister of Karnataka in 2013 but lost the polls from his constituency in Tumkur, paving the way for Siddaramaiah.
After the 2018 polls threw up a hung verdict, the Congress party offered unconditional support to the JDS for creating a government with H D Kumaraswamy as the chief minister. Parameshwara was made deputy chief minister on account of the understanding he enjoys with the leaders of the JDS.